Verbs with two objects 2

Previous: Verbs with two objects 1

You saw in the previous article that some verbs can use either one or two different objects;

  1. a direct object (dopełnienie bliższe – kogo? co?)
  2. an indirect object (dopełnienie dalsze – komu? czemu?).

You also saw that, because we don’t have cases (przypadki) in English to tell us how a word is being used, we have to use a special word order:

subject verb (komu? czemu?) kogo? co?

I gave () flowers. – Dałem () kwiaty.

I gave her flowers. – Dałem jej kwiaty.

If we use the wrong word order, we change the meaning of the sentence, often to something which doesn’t make sense:

I gave flowers her. – Dałem kwiatom .

There is however a way in which we can change the word order and the sentence will keep the same meaning. To do this, we have to have a way to show that the object is being used as komu? czemu? and not kogo? co? The way we do this is to use the word to.

I gave her flowers. – Dałem jej kwiaty.

I gave flowers to her mother. -Dałem kwiaty jej mamie.

The word to is used before one or more objects to show that they are being used as komu? czemu?

I gave flowers to her mother. -Dałem kwiaty jej mamie.

I gave flowers to her and her mother. -Dałem kwiaty jej i jej mamie.

Another situation where we can use a different word order is where in Polish you would use dla kogoś. In this situation, we use the word for.

I bought flowers for Agnieszka. – Kupiłem kwiaty dla Agnieszki.

Remember though that we only use the word for when we want to change the word order.

I bought Agnieszka flowers. – Kupiłem dla Agnieszki kwiaty.

I bought flowers for Agnieszka. – Kupiłem kwiaty dla Agnieszki.

I bought for Agnieszka flowers.This is wrong!

In Polish, you can often use either komu? czemu? or dla kogoś with a verb.

In English, we use to if we want to say that something went from one person to another, and we use for to say that something is done for the benefit of another person.

This difference means that the same sentence in English can often be translated in two ways, but you must remember the difference between to and for in English.

I bought Agnieszka flowers. – Kupiłem Agnieszce kwiaty.

I bought flowers to Agnieszka.This is wrong!

I bought flowers for Agnieszka. – Kupiłem kwiaty dla Agnieszki.

I gave Agnieszka flowers. – Dałem Agnieszce kwiaty.

I gave flowers for Agnieszka.This is wrong!

I gave flowers to Agnieszka and her mother. – Dałem kwiaty Agnieszce i jej mamie.

Remember:

to – something, e.g. flowers, went from one person to another

I gave Agnieszka flowers. – Dałem Agnieszce kwiaty.

I gave flowers to Agnieszka and her mother. – Dałem kwiaty Agnieszce i jej mamie.

for – something, e.g. buy flowers, is done for the benefit of another person

I bought Agnieszka flowers. – Kupiłem dla Agnieszki kwiaty.

I bought flowers for Agnieszka. – Kupiłem kwiaty dla Agnieszki.

One way to remember the rules is to think of the sentence:

We have prizes for all the winners but the first prize will go to Anna.

Mamy nagrody dla wszystkich zwycięzców, a główną nagrodę dajemy Annie.